Britain's newest aircraft carrier is on track to sail out of Rosyth dockyard later this month, the head of the Royal Navy has said – and she is due to arrive in Portsmouth in December.
HMS Prince of Wales, the sister ship of HMS Queen Elizabeth, will squeeze out into the Firth of Forth for her maiden voyage in the coming weeks so she can be tested in areas including speed and propulsion.
First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin told the PA news agency: ‘We are on track for HMS Prince of Wales to sail from Rosyth later this month to start her sea trials.
‘Similarly, we are on track for her arrival into Portsmouth in December.’
It is understood the departure from the dockyard where the ship has been built could happen as early as next week, weather permitting.
At 280 metres long, weighing 65,000 tonnes, with a predicted lifespan of half a century and a flight deck of four acres, the £3.1bn ship is expected to commission into the Royal Navy in 2020.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is off the east coast of America, and will see Britain's cutting-edge F-35B stealth fighter jets land on deck for the first time in the coming weeks.
During their 50-year service, the two Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will be used for work ranging from high-intensity fighting to humanitarian aid and disaster relief.